There’s a moment in films that really gets car lovers excited. Our hero or heroes are on the run or in the middle of the mission.
And they get behind the wheel of a car. The music suddenly changes. Excitement builds. Ladies and gentlemen, buckle up. It’s time for a car chase.
From the early black and white films to the recent Fast and Furious franchise, car chases have been a staple of the silver screen for as long as cinema itself has existed.
Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton had their madcap adventures. Now Vin Diesel glowers at the camera while rambling on about family.
But what are the best film car chases of all time? Which movie moments of motor mayhem are the ones that petrolheads will be watching again and again?
Here are our pick for the best car chases of all time.
Made with a real love for action movies, Baby Driver has more car chases than most films have dialogue scenes.
Director Edgar Wright combined two of his big passions for this film: music and chase movies.
Leading to some of the most iconic car chase moments of the past decade. And it’s no better symbolised by the opening scene.
Our hero, Baby, waits outside a bank as a team of goons go inside to do their dirty work. As he waits, he plays some music on his stolen ipod.
When the goons come running out, Baby goes to work, driving off through the streets of Atlanta, dodging cops with ease.
All in time to the music he’s listening to. It’s an incredible feat of editing and choreography, done almost entirely with practical effects.
If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it here.
Possibly the most iconic car chase of all time, (other than the next item on our list), Steve Mcqueen was seemingly engineered in a lab to be really cool, especially when behind the wheel of a car.
In this tense thriller from the sixties, Mcqueen’s Bullitt pursues an assassin through the winding and steep roads of San Francisco.
The roar of the engines is what sets this apart, as does the very real effects as the two protagonists battle for supremacy on the road. Relive the drama here.
This film is an icon of British cinema for two reasons. The first is Michael Caine, who assembles a team of loveable rogues to steal gold bullion from an Italian bank.
The second is because of his choice of escape vehicles – Mini Coopers. The red, white and blue cars weave their way around Turin, dodging football fans, frustrated locals and the Italian police as they go.
It’s a long chase scene and its full of iconic images. The Minis swerving their way through a shopping centre, the way they rock from side-to-side in the sewage tunnels, and the climatic sequence where they drive onto the roof of a building, only to quickly out manoeuvre the chasing pack.
Sadly, the Mini Coopers don’t last long, ditched off the side of a mountain road to hide the evidence.
A film about two blues musicians trying to raise money to save an orphanage, doesn’t sound like the format for a car chase.
But The Blues Brothers is pretty much one long chase sequence, with the highlight being the mall sequence.
Pursued by swarms of police cars, the titutlar brothers weave their way through a symbol of capitalist America, destroying shop windows and furniture as they make their escape.
It’s a comedy classic.
Spoiler alert. Thelma and Louise doesn’t have a happy ending. Not in a traditional sense anyway.
This story of two put-upon women who take control of their boring lives by going on a crime spree, is one of friendship and drama.
But it’s not just a feminist fable, it has some fantastic action scenes too. The climatic chase through the desert has you really rooting for our two heroines.
Will they be able to escape in time? When it seems like they are about to get away, a whole fleet of police cars and helicopters arrive, ending their chance of avoiding capture.
So, what do our heroines decide to do? Keep driving, off the edge of a cliff and to their doom.
Or their salvation. Depends if you are a pessimist or an optimist! Either way, great ending to a great film.
Regularly topping polls as the best film of the last decade, Mad Max: Fury Road was a surprise hit.
Having been so long since the first film, how could it hope to stand up to the originals? Turns out it does better than stand up, it is far superior in almost every way.
But it’s the action sequences that take it to a whole new level. A chase involving a big rig tanker avoiding a whole variety of weird and wacky vehicles, as leather clad mutants try to take down Max and Furiosa.
The film grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go until it has wrung every ounce of adrenaline out of you. If you haven't seen it, here's a snippet of one of the most intense chases.
The Fast and the Furious films have become the leading film action franchise. Thanks to their likable cast, fast cars and fist-pumping action scenes, they really are the best kind of popcorn entertainment.
Our choice for the best car chase is in the fifth film, where Vin Diesel’s “Dom” and his gang have to rob a bank in Rio de Janeiro.
But instead of breaking into the vault, they just steal it entirely. Filmed with stunning practical effects, it took the franchise to a whole new level.
We couldn’t have a list of car chases without at least one James Bond film. And our pick goes for Pierce Brosnan’s debut entry into the franchise – Goldeneye.
Instead of an Aston Martin complete with gadgets and gizmos, Bond gets the behind the controls of a tank.
Avoiding the Russian military and destroying most of the iconic Russian city’s monuments, the tank chase is everything we love about Bond films – funny, smart and thrilling.